Launch Center is one of those $0.99 apps that you could easily form an entire iPhone workflow around – you just need a bit of time to think one up. I decided to give the app a shot after seeing it mentioned recently on MacStories. On the surface, Launch Center is a quick launcher for apps, system actions, and websites: load the app up and you’ll have options to…
- turn the rear Flash on
- Speed Dial / Text / Email a Contact
- Launch Website/App (more on this in a bit)
- Post to Facebook (official Facebook app required)
- Tweet (using the iOS 5 pop-up box)
- Google My Clipboard (well, Your clipboard)
As of version 1.1, you now also have the option of scheduling a notification for any one of those actions. The notifications can appear just once, or they can repeat daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.
One of the first things that will occur to most users is that Launch Center can function as a bit of a super dialing app. It’s quick and easy to up speed dials and quick texts to family and friends and then stack a few of your most-used apps just below. For those who want to keep a minimal home screen profile and only keep in touch with a few people, Launch Center will probably be a great replacement for the Phone app on your dock.
Scheduling + Launching = Semi-Automatic “Profiles”
Launching other apps straight from Launch Center isn’t too difficult – all it usually takes is the formula [AppNameGoesHere://] – but it isn’t the same for every single app, so Launch Center isn’t a terribly newb-friendly app. But for the initiated, the combination of custom-URLs and scheduled notifications gets non-jailbroken iOS 5 users closer to automatic profiles, much like the ones available on Android and Blackberry.
If you’re the kind to set e-mail sounds OFF before you sleep, you can set a settings shortcut (see iDownloadBlog for a full list) for Sounds to pop up at 11:45 PM before you head to sleep, and all you’ll have to do is tap on the pop-up, switch e-mail sounds OFF, and then doze off. Not as cool as a GPS- or time-triggered profile, but it’s better than nothing.
Reminding You To Use That App You Always Forget to Use
There are all sorts of great apps for keeping track of your daily budget, weight, and what you’ve been eating for lunch and dinner…but these apps are only useful when you remember to use them. If you’ve been having trouble remembering to launch MoneyBook to record how much lunch cost, or Foodish to snap shots of your Salmon Sandwich, then scheduled actions in Launch Center could prove enormously useful.
Curbing App Addiction?
Alternatively, if you find there are certain apps that you’re simply checking far too often just because they’re on your homescreen, you could also try and use Launch Center to launch them only at specific times of the day. That way you can tuck Facebook away in a folder on your fifth home screen and wait until Launch Center pops up with a notification in the evening, which will then give you permission to e-stalk your friends for a while.
I’m sure there are other uses for Launch Center, so if you’ve got some unique use cases of your own, share with the class in the comments.